Although the battle over the prospective nominee is becoming increasingly bitter, sources say that, if nominated, Hagel will sail through the Senate hearings. A former Pentagon official tells National Review Online that Hagel “would make it through the Senate confirmation process without a whole lot of difficulty.” According to a source familiar with the confirmation process, once a nomination is announced, scrutiny of the nominee’s views is standard procedure: “There have been many people who have views that concern the members,” NRO’s source says, and it’s likely that we will look back on today’s dispute as “a tempest in a teapot.” …

Given the dynamics of Washington, D.C., defeating Hagel may require his opponents — including National Review’s editors — to cause an uproar that makes the administration reconsider his nomination altogether. And the longer the administration waits to make an announcement, sources say, the more likely that is. “In Washington, D.C.,” says the former Pentagon official, “you can get nibbled to death by a thousand ducks. So, from an administration point of view, if you believe this is the guy and you can get him through, you should announce him.”

Former Pentagon officials have conflicting views about how Hagel would fare leading the Department of Defense. “One of the things we are still struggling with,” says Robert Andrews, a former special assistant to the secretary of the Army, “is to put fine strokes on what our threat is. Hagel’s view would not be to see terrorist movements as threats. He wants to negotiate everything. He’s the wrong guy for the job.”